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Dallas County leaders hope to combat rising housing costs in Oak Cliff with new development

Dallas city officials and others hold shovels and wear hard hats at a construction site.
Pablo Arauz Peña
/
KERA News
Gateway Oak Cliff will be a 230-unit mixed-income rental community that county leaders anticipate will make room for working-class families.

On a bright, windy Tuesday afternoon in North Oak Cliff, all five Dallas county commissioners appeared in public for the first time since the beginning of the pandemic to break ground on a new affordable housing community.

Gateway Oak Cliff will be a 230-unit mixed-income rental community that county leaders anticipate will make room for working-class families.

The neighborhood has experienced a renewal in recent years resulting in housing becoming increasingly more expensive.

County Commissioner Elba Garcia, who represents North Oak Cliff, said she hopes the community can serve as a model to be duplicated elsewhere in the county.

“We all see what's happening in this area, the gentrification that has been taking place,” she said. “We all see that there's not enough affordable housing in the city of Dallas or Dallas County.”

The apartments are being developed on the site where a county government building now stands. Garcia said when the discussion came up to sell the property, she wanted to do something different.

“Something that will mean something for the community, that will give the opportunity to that community that has been displaced the opportunity to come back,” said Garcia.

The county plans to lease the site to Catholic Housing Initiative, which manages properties throughout North Texas.

Sister Mary Anne Owens, president of the Catholic Housing Initiative, has lived in Oak Cliff for 30 years.

“You know, if you talk about having a middle class, you have to have housing for everybody. And the price of housing right now in Dallas is outrageous,” she said.

Commissioner John Wiley Price, who represents a nearby precinct in South Dallas says the fact that the county owns the land means the county will be a managing partner for the complex.

“We can create a model for others to follow,” said Price. “We can take a property that the taxpayers have basically allowed us to use all this time and turn it back to a use that is in the best interest of this community.”

The apartments are expected to be completed and open for leasing in 2023.

Got a tip? Email Pablo Arauz Peña at parauzpena@kera.org.

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A previous version of this story referred to Commissioner John Wiley Price's precinct as a district.